On Cowardice the Puppet of World Bank

How else will one

describe a country where a tiny rag-tag group of terrorists have

bamboozled her commander-in-chief into celebrating independence under

the rocks? Or one where he shamelessly implements the instructions of

his bubbleheads at the World Bank? What happened to starring tyranny

of terrorism in the face? Mobilizing public opinion against terror?

Oh my, our President was running scared! And he is running scared in

the face of economic terrorism now being proposed by his World Bank

controlled economic team.

I totally understand why

our David and Ungoliath President will be afraid of celebrating. Who

won’t be? If the home of your masters at the United Nations were

attacked, albeit you live in the same city, you too will have a lot

to fear. Jos in the past four years has been a bedlam of crisis week

in, week out. No one seems to have lost their job; no serious

reorganization seems to have to taken place: just same old

platitudes. Nigerians are supposed to hope, because they are used to

hoping.

Yes, it is that famous

hope of a Nigeria that drew them to vote in a poll for a candidate

that was clearly incompetent and over his head; a puppet that does

the wishes of his masters in distant land. A man clearly impressed by

everything foreign, or that speaks with a twang. The days of yore are

here; the chicken seems finally to have come home to roost.

So you voted for

Jonathan? How about those one hundred and fifty naira per liter at

the pump come January next year! I dey laugh. Was that part of his

manifesto? Why do Nigerians keep voting for “hope” instead of

“change”? It was clear to any discerning mind that this man

called Jonathan offered nothing but same old platitudes of the old

guard in his moribund party now adorned with the garment of a newbie.

Instead, like goats being herded to the slaughter, they voted with

excuses: or as some say, with prejudiced reservation and now are

reaping sorrows and tears.

The lopsided white

elephant projects have not stopped. Just

another 30 billion naira on a national ID card scheme when the first

300 billion naira allocated was wasted. The refineries are still

not working, yet the talk of deregulating the sector is what gets our

man’s attention. We have become a nation of importers of energy,

when the raw resources are produced in our land. What happened to

common sense, where did this President learn Economics 101?

This talk of deregulation

is nonsense in so far as the President’s aides keep missing the

larger point. That the cause of the corruption in the subsidy scheme

they’re purportedly scrapping is not the subsidy itself, but the

very essence that an importation cabal has held the nation hostage.

It is this cabal that has determined to ensure they skim off the top

of the nation woes, while ensuring that a better system to replace

what we have now never emerges.

Just like PHCN and our

electric grid is in the grip of the generator mafia, the petroleum

import leeches have essential declared war on our capability to

refine locally, and they were the sponsors of the President at the

last election!

Take for instance, in

the fiscal year 2011 the total budget for petroleum subsidy was

240 billion naira, roughly $1.70 billion. To date, 931 billion naira

have already been spent! Yes, you read that right: Nigeria have

expended $6 billion on the economic hit that have been let loose on

our nation. They live in sleek palaces across the country, smiling to

the banks while the rest of us exist in absolute penury. These are

the President’s men, and now they want us not the government to

line their pockets.

Nigeria is a low-income

earning country that happens to be blessed with oil. Our citizens

should not be paying the same price as an American. For one, they

cannot afford it. This obsession by the PDP government with

deregulation will destroy our local economy and companies already

groaning under the weight of fueling vehicles and generators, it will

be the last straw to break their back when the government should

rather be stimulating the economy. America, China and Europe are

stimulating theirs, why should we be killing ours? This policy will

destroy employment, threaten our social fabric, lead to spiraling

inflation and could very well lead to a revolution. The President is

playing with fire.

I cannot believe the

President is simply clueless (or maybe I can); clearly this man

cannot be possibly impotent in the face of the cabal (or maybe he

is). The solution to the corruption in the subsidy system cannot

possibly be transferring the burden of paying that subsidy to the

pockets of long suffering Nigerians from the coffers of their

ever-leaking non-existent government! Pray tell, how many new

refineries can be build with the subsidy the government of Goodluck

Jonathan have paid to his sponsors in 2011 only?

Here are few policy

steps, just in case his advisors are reading that can take Nigeria

from almost 6 billion dollars paid to charlatans to total

self-sufficiency in three years, by the end of his term:

  • Commercialize the

    existing four refineries as separate companies. This will basically

    involve cleaning shop on management level (hire HR firms to do

    this), while taking them public (offering 49% control at the IPO,

    devoting the raised capital to capital expansion to increase

    production)

  • Continue the

    practice of selling crude oil to the refineries at below

    international market rate i.e. indirect subsidy, which allows the

    refinery turn profit; while putting a lid on the domestic pump price

    through a regulated system of tariffs similar to electricity.

  • Allocate excess

    refine products demand to the four operators: allowing them to

    organize importers to meet this demand beyond what they produce,

    while disbursing subsidy directly to them to meet the regulated pump

    price.

  • At the same time,

    the new regulatory regime should not allow these operators to import

    directly or through any subsidiary or joint venture, rather they’re

    to source their imports from the open market, paying market price

    for such while bridging this with government paid subsidy.

This system essentially

means that as a commercial operator, they’re giving up certain

margins to the middlemen importers in so far they don’t produce

domestically; encouraging them to eliminate these middlemen quickly.

Also, the fewer players feeding at the government trough of subsidies

will also mean less corruption. As public companies responsible to

shareholders, these companies will only act in self interest to

continue to expand production to meet local demand and eliminate the

middle men.

At the same time,

government incentives for new refinery builders including tax

holidays, a capital expansion fund that provide up to 51% equity

funding or loan guarantees to these builders at the Central Bank will

be a more efficient way to spend $6billion than giving it to the

President’s buddies. Of course one of these incentives might be a

bite at the juicy oil blocs that the majors always want: no refinery

no, crude oil concession, no deal. It is called negotiation.

Stop being a coward Mr.

President. Where is the Petroleum Industry Bill when we need it

anyway?

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